News & Analysis

  1. Family Feud

    Family feud: Kaskade and his ZEFR-founding bro take different stances on copyright law

    Well this could get awkward. Brothers Rich and Ryan Raddon, the former being the co-founder of YouTube rights management platform ZEFR and the latter being better known by his DJ name, Kaskade, seemingly find themselves on opposing sides of the copyright debate. Late last week, Reuters reported that uber-popular YouTube star Michelle Phan is being sued by Ultra Records, a music label which happens to represent Kaskade, along with other electronic dance music (EDM) names like deadmau5 and…
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    Passbook redux: Amazon copies Apple’s underwhelming digital wallet

    Amazon has released a beta version of a wallet application meant to give Android users an easy way to manage their gift cards, loyalty cards, and payment information without having to worry about painfully analog tasks like carrying a physical wallet around or remembering where a gift card is. The unimaginatively-named Amazon Wallet will be pre-installed on the company’s Fire Phone when it’s released later this week, and can also be installed on other Android smartphones, too. The first…
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    Two Valley entrepreneurs nobody really cares about like Rand Paul. Conservarianism rising!

    Over the weekend, San Francisco hosted Reboot 2014, a conference that united Silicon Valley techies with libertarians like Reason.com editor Nick Gillespie and US Senator Rand Paul. To hear some outlets tell it, this marked a historic meeting of technology’s brightest minds and Washington’s most influential advocates for small government. But from all reports, the libertarians in attendance were far more high-profile than the techies. An article from a local Bay Area CBS affiliate was titled, “Strange Bedfellows: Silicon Valley Techies ‘Like’…
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    Silence and denials surround new research that may reveal Tor’s vulnerabilities

    Tor has been heralded as a foil to the National Security Agency’s widespread surveillance programs since last year, when the Guardian reported that the anonymous browsing tool hadn’t yet been compromised despite the NSA’s best efforts. That isn’t strictly true, as the Guardian revealed in a follow-up report on the tools and strategies used to attack it, but Tor’s reputation as a panacea for society’s surveillance woes has mostly remained intact. That was supposed to change at the Black Hat Conference in…
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    Seattle’s Audiosocket partners with 110 music libraries to try to fix copyright on YouTube

    Some people are waiting for flying cars, quantum computing, or virtual reality. Me? I just want somebody to fix copyright on YouTube. Policing copyright on YouTube can be a nightmare for both users and creators. The platform uses a system called ContentID, which detects videos with “infringing” copyrighted material before either removing them or diverting ad revenue to the “proper” rights holder. The trouble is, this is done automatically and, in many cases, the person or company making the infringement claim is not the really the rights holder at…
  8. wearables

    Chomping at the (Fit)bit: Xiaomi releases a $13 fitness tracker

    Xiaomi started off as a smartphone-maker that offered well-designed products for a fraction of the cost of its better-known competitors. Then it released a smart television set that led Pando to label it “one of the world’s most interesting tech companies.” Today it took another step forward with the Mi Band, a fitness band that also acts as an authenticator to unlock a smartphone without a password. It claims a 30-day battery life and only costs $13. That’s a much…
  9. crowdfunding-a-dang-book

    How I crowdfunded a book and fell in love again with physical things

    In the middle of November last year I became one of the masses of successful crowdfunders, a small quirk of a lot of the reporting on crowdfunding I’ve done this year. Before I joined Pando in January I was a freelance journalist. One of my many jobs was writing a blog, Voyages in America, for a major New Zealand website (confession: I am not a natural born American) detailing the highs and lows of my move to America…
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    Netflix outperforms estimates, with strong Q2 profit and subscriber growth

    Bucking the trend of what has historically been its weakest quarter, Netflix today reported strong earnings and subscriber growth for the three months ending June 30. The company generated a profit of $71 million ($1.15 per share) compared to $29.5 million in the year ago quarter. Revenue during the period was up to $1.34 billion from $1.07 billion a in Q2 2013, including 25 percent and  85 percent growth respectively in domestic and international streaming revenue, handily beating analyst estimates. Netflix added 1.69 million new streaming…
  12. beats-I-mean-level-headphones

    Ever the copycat, Samsung announces new “premium” headphones

    I like to imagine that somewhere deep within the bowels of Samsung’s headquarters there is a person suspended in a mysterious liquid whose job is to predict the future in time for the company to develop an innovative product ahead of its competition. The problem with this imaginary fortune teller is that reality tells a very different story. It appears that the closest thing to a Samsung pre-cog is someone hitting refresh on the “Hot News” section of Apple’s website. Surely that’s the…
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    YouTube’s identity crisis: Can it launch a Spotify-style service witout losing its soul?

    From the moment cofounder Jawed Karim uploaded the first-ever YouTube video, a grainy 18-second clip shot at the San Diego Zoo, YouTube has been a space dedicated to the most homegrown of creators. It didn’t matter whether you were Lady Gaga or a kid from Arkansas — if the right people found your work and loved it, you could become an overnight sensation. Such was the power of YouTube’s democratized take on web video. But as YouTube gears up to debut its Spotify-style subscription…
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    Yahoo agrees to acquire app analytics company Flurry

    Yahoo today announced that it has agreed to acquire Flurry, an application analytics and marketing platform whose products are built into 500 million smartphones, for an undisclosed sum. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed. [Source: Yahoo]
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    Social robots can put us back in the moment, rather than burrowing further into technology

    Pop culture has robots wrong. It’s not going to be some garish ‘Rocky IV’ showpiece that wins the day, or some ‘Her’ style artificial intelligence, so real as to make actual human interaction obsolete. I’ve even spoken to hardware people who think that robotics will skip the home altogether, that despite our fascination with making C3PO a real thing, robots will mostly serve menial functions out of sight to us. Cynthia Breazeal has a more persuasive answer…
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  18. introducingsave

    Facebook announces Save, a new tool meant for absolutely no one

    Facebook today announced Save, a new feature meant to help its users keep lists of articles, places, and other miscellanies in sync across all of their devices. The feature will be rolling out to the company’s mobile applications and website in the coming weeks. But will anyone use it? Much of the content shared to Facebook isn’t worth saving for later. Even worse, Facebook’s News Feed algorithm tends to surface what a less dignified writer might call “snackable”
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    A new NewYorker.com

    ‘For months, our editorial and tech teams have been sardined into a boiler room, subsisting only on stale cheese sandwiches and a rationed supply of tap water, working without complaint on intricate questions of design, functionality, access, and what is so clinically called “the user experience.”’ — New Yorker
  20. dvorkin

    After Forbes sale, Lewis Dvorkin reassures readers: Don’t worry, we’ll still suck

    Lewis Dvorkin — aka the man who ruthlessly trimmed all the of the gravitas from Forbes and finally gave advertisers the respect they pay for — wants to reassure concerned PR people readers that nothing will change, despite the company’s sale to Hong Kong. Writing on, obviously, Forbes, Dvorkin explains how the sale won’t divert him from a strategy which has turned one of the world’s most respected business publications into an obligatory eye-roll on every social media…
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